Newberg outscores the Trojans 33-12 in the second half to improve to 11-1 this summer

Still young and inexperienced, the Newberg boys basketball team made good strides, yet also took its fair share of lumps last winter.

After a fairly smooth head coaching transition to former assistant Mark Brown, now it’s the Tigers who are putting the hurt on other teams, much like Newberg did Monday in a 68-41 thrashing of Wilson at McGrath Gymnasium.

“They’re coachable and that’s the big thing,” Brown said. “They’re doing exactly what we’re asking and it’s paying off. All the credit goes to them for just working hard and doing it together as a team.”by: SETH GORDON - Off and running – First-year Newberg head coach Mark Brown talks to his team during a timeout in Monday's 68-41 home win over Wilson. The Tigers had more steals (nine) than turnovers (eight) in the lopsided victory.

The Tigers were trailing midway through the second quarter, but turned up the heat on defense, forcing turnovers to create fast break opportunities and overtake the Trojans to enter the break up 35-29.

During halftime, Brown emphasized coming out strong in the second half and that’s exactly what Newberg did, beginning the third on a 15-3 run to go up 50-32 and take control of the game.

“Usually in the second half we start out well and it just keeps going,” senior center Jacoby Wolfe said. “That energy just flows.”

It was pretty much the same story in the fourth quarter, as the Tigers excelled in just about every phase of the game, dominating the boards, causing turnovers, shooting the ball well and passing often.

Newberg had more steals (nine) than turnovers (eight) for the game and its three guards 3/4 B.J. Ulloa, James Willcuts and junior transfer Kaden Ogles 3/4 combined to hand out 10 assists.

“He’s a great addition,” Brown said of Ogles. “He’s coming off the bench, but he’s a guy that could easily be in the starting lineup. Between him, James and B.J., that’s a fun three to have.”

Jacoby Wolfe led the offense with 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds, with Jake Sundquist adding 13 points.

“(Wolfe’s) gotten a lot better even from this last year,” Brown said. “He’s put in a lot of work. He’s been committed to the gym. I think track helped him a lot with jumping and with footwork and a little bit of coordination and stability. That’s translated into basketball.”

The win was a good response from Newberg, which lost its first game in the Metro Summer League to Tigard by five points on June 19.

“We had a tough game with Tigard, but it kind of helped us,” Wolfe said. “It showed us we still have some things to work on.”

Making Brown’s job easier this summer has been the team’s incredible depth. Even without returning varsity contributor Kody Renne, who was playing for the Newberg baseball team Monday, all 10 Tigers played significant minutes.

“It’s nice that I have three solid guards that I can put at the one and two,” Brown said. “It doesn’t matter what rotation I have. We’re just trying out everything, seeing what works. We have 10 solid players that I have confidence in. That’s nice as a coach.”

The Tigers will wrap up their season Thursday at Forest Grove, but won’t be done for the summer. Newberg’s freshmen will attend the University of Oregon team camp this weekend, with the varsity set to travel to Spokane July 17-20.

“We’re keeping it in perspective. It is summer league and all teams are missing guys,” Brown said. This is a good league and we’re seeing a lot of good stuff. We’re seeing some stuff we need to work on, but I’m really happy with what the boys are doing.”

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